Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Season(s) of a year or life (01/13/11)
TITLE: To Be Beautiful
By Leola Ogle
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She was a sensitive, shy girl, but happy. Time progressed and she grew.
She loved school, and excelled in sports and academics. She had lots of friends, and was always a favorite with teachers.
She was in 1st grade when a boy laughed as he called her freckle-face and buck-teeth. She studied herself in the mirror at home, his words wounding like sharp needles piercing her heart.
She wished she was beautiful!
Her parents were good, simple people. They were sporadic church goers, both having been raised in what they considered a harsh, legalistic religion. She always loved church, desiring to please the God whose presence she always sensed. Sometimes she would play church in her front yard, preaching and singing to a make-believe congregation.
She wanted to be school teacher or a missionary when she grew up. She also wanted to be a writer; she started several novels while in grade school. The demands of her life would be so that writing would always be an unfulfilled passion.
She graduated 8th grade with honors.
The door closed on this season of her life.
She was a freshman in high school when she had a real experience with God at an old-fashioned altar in a little church. It was a defining moment in her life, an encounter that became the pivotal point for all other things. This love relationship between her and her creator would endure through all the seasons of her journey.
She had many friends at high school, but was never the pretty, popular girl. That was okay, she didn’t mind.
She sometimes wished she was beautiful!
All too soon, the door closed on this season of her life.
While still in high school she foolishly got married to a boy she met at church. It would be a harsh, abusive marriage. However, it produced five wonderful children. Sometimes God and those children seemed all she had.
But it was enough!
This season of her life would be full of joy, adventure, but mostly heartbreaking turbulence. She remained faithful to God, connected and involved in church, praying continually for her children.
She knew she wasn’t ugly, but she wasn’t beautiful. She often wondered if she were beautiful, would her husband do the things he did. As she matured, she understood that it was his own demons he battled.
He left when the two youngest were teenagers. She was torn between relief and fear of the unknown.
The door closed on this season of her life.
Married at 16, divorced after 22 years, being thrust into single life was a culture shock for her. Free from the debilitating confines of her bad marriage, she floundered in a sea of uncharted courses. Although it was a bad marriage, it was familiar territory; one she knew how to navigate through.
Some things hadn’t changed - the young, beautiful women in her Singles’ Group attracted the men. It didn’t matter to her that she was neither young nor beautiful. She was comfortable with who she was. However, she did long for a godly marriage, a Christian husband, something she’d never had.
God gave her the desire of her heart. It was a gift from God to her battered spirit. This husband told her every day that she was beautiful. She knew that wasn’t true, but it was nice to be told so.
Her family grew and thrived. She became a grandmother, then a great grandmother.
Now she sat at a retirement luncheon in her honor. She had worked for twenty years in a home missions’ ministry that she dearly loved, a fulfillment of that long ago desire to do missions work. She felt humbled and undeserving of all the accolades. They spoke of her faithfulness, kindness, and inner beauty. She knew her life was a testament of God’s mercy and grace.
She couldn’t remember when she came to realize that she had always been beautiful. Her heavenly Father assured her that she was - 1 Peter 3:4 “Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (NIV)
The door was closing on this season of her life. She felt at peace! Her seasons of life weren’t over, though. Perhaps now she could pursue her passion to write.
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